A conversation with Dana Stephenson, Co-Founder & CEO of Riipen

by Sally Sorte

Dana Stephenson, CEO & Co-Founder of Riipen, championing real world learning for post-secondary students while they are in school so they are prepared for successful transitions into the workforce.

“Everyone tells you to do something you are really passionate about and something you can relate to,” recalls Dana Stephenson.

At the time, Stephenson and his co-founder, Dave Savory, were in their fourth year at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. As they were talking to friends and reflecting on their own lives, the omnipresent question was, “What’s next?”

That question was what Stephenson and Savory decided to hone in on. …

by EduLab Capital Partners

We are excited to host our first pitch competition for early-stage learning, workforce, and AI-driven technologies!

In partnership with our University Ambassadors from Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Middlebury College, we are looking forward to bringing together some of the most promising seed stage companies in the EdTech space.

Early-Stage: We are looking to highlight companies who have at least a minimum viable product in the market and are receiving customer feedback. These companies are likely raising Seed or Seed+ capital to help scale sales and marketing efforts to expand in new and existing geographies.


by Sally Sorte

The Mentor Collective founding team, in 2015. Jackson and James are front right.

“Mentor Collective is grounded in… helping students who feel like they don’t belong in a place, belong in a place,” says Co-Founder and CEO, Jackson Boyar.

To achieve this sense of belonging, Mentor Collective seeks to make life-changing relationships a feature of every student’s college experience.

“Helping people feel at home in the world and be their best selves.”

While this human need transcends time, the last 14 months of Covid-19 ‘social distancing’ have underscored the value of human connection. And the gaping hole we feel when that need is not fulfilled.

Jackson Boyar and James Lu…

by Sally Sorte

As we close out Women’s History Month, we are pleased to introduce you to an inspiring female leader and entrepreneur: Aparna Rao.

Aparna Rao says that she stumbled upon entrepreneurship.

“Honestly, maybe that’s the best way to do it, because it’s all about: is there a need in the market, is there a passion I have, and is there a solution I can solve it with.”

Rao is the founder and CEO of eCare Vault, EduLab Capital’s inaugural investment. eCare Vault offers a coordinated care platform to bridge communication across a child or adult’s family caregivers, educators…

by Liam Pisano

Deciding how much institutional capital to raise is a critical choice for an entrepreneur.

“How much money are you looking to raise?” A question heard at the end of nearly every early-stage entrepreneur-investor conversation. More often than not, the response separates the wheat from the chaff in terms of those ready to raise institutional capital.

While there’s no right answer, the need to be directionally correct can be tantamount to success. A figure that outweighs the need for the Company is looked upon as out of touch and needlessly dilutive, and a figure too small can be seen as lacking ambition and dispels dreams of venture-like returns. A well thought out…

by Sally Sorte

EduLab Capital Managing Partner, Liam Pisano, deploying capital from his basement

Sandwiched between a punching bag and a Peloton, Liam Pisano is going on month nine of doing deals from his basement. Pisano is the Boston-based Managing Partner and Co-founder of EduLab Capital Partners (ECP), with counterparts in Tokyo and Singapore.

EduLab Capital is an early stage, EdTech venture capital firm that seeks to fill the gap for entrepreneurs looking for an institutionalized investor, at a stage in development where their product/market fit or ARR are not yet suited for a larger fund.

ECP invests in learning technologies, spanning K-12, Higher Education, and corporate learning. …

by Liam Pisano, Managing Partner

Today we are pleased to announce that Sally Sorte has joined the EduLab Capital Partners team as a Principal. That’s the formal announcement. But the journey to this moment for us was almost as interesting as her impressive and inspiring background. Sally joined EduLab Capital as a virtual summer MBA intern in June of 2020 after her first year at Harvard Business School. Her introduction to our team was a welcome respite from the tragedy of the Spring. Her resume read much like a well crafted movie script. Experience at Teach for America, Google, McKinsey…

EduLab Capital

EduLab Capital Partners is a VC fund that invests in early stage, education and workforce technology companies to scale measurable impact in our communities.

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